Reaction time

Morning to you all, it’s pretty quiet today with reaction/fallout from Saturday’s ‘shock’ defeat to QPR still ongoing.

Arsene Wenger has called for a reaction, Robin van Persie too, saying:

Everyone is disappointed but towards the end of the week I am sure the spirit will be how it was. We’ll have a couple of days to be disappointed but after that our focus is on Manchester City.

And we know this is an Arsenal side that can respond. An early season nightmare that began D – L – L – W – L – W – L was then followed by an eight game unbeaten streak. Then the blip in January, early February which saw us go L – L – L – D before embarking on that run of seven wins which came to an end at Loftus Road.

The worry is how often a bad result sends us into a kind of a tailspin from which it takes a few games to extricate ourselves from. At this stage of the season we can’t allow ourselves to be affected in that way, and although the two games following Man City – against Wolves and Wigan – provide a more realistic chance of taking all the points, I feel we really need to take something from Sunday’s game too.

Not simply for the point or points we might garner but to prove that this is a squad with more resilience now, that can react straight away and which can look to put some of the pressure back on our rivals for the top four. It will come down to mental toughness as much as anything else and when you look at the games we’ve got between now and the end of the season nearly all of them mean something.

Man City – fighting for the title. Wolves and Wigan – both scrapping to stay in the Premier League. Chelsea – fighting for the top four. Stoke – outrageous cunts who will never do anything but try and batter us. Only the final two games of the season, against Norwich and West Brom will be against teams who have nothing left to play for in the season. They’ll both be safely mid-table, I reckon, but it’s hard to imagine us going into those games without needing something.

So every fixture is crucial and while Saturday’s mishap has opened up old wounds, many of them festering and oozing with nasty yellow stuff that stinks like a tramp’s arsehole, perhaps we’re too quick to forget that we just won seven out of seven, and that’s as good an illustration as any that this is a team capable of putting a run of results together. We rode our luck a little bit along the way, but that’s true of most any team on a run like that.

The team ought to draw confidence from the fact that in subsequent games they beat Sp*rs, Liverpool, Newcastle and Everton. Not easy games by any stretch of the imagination and coming out of them with three points each time was fantastic, especially when you consider two trips to Merseyside were involved. The run was going to come to an end at some stage, and while it’s little comfort, perhaps there’s something to be taken from the fact that it was completely avoidable.

We weren’t outplayed by QPR. Certainly we didn’t reach the heights we have in weeks past and from an attacking point of view we were as limp as Pele before he got that advertising gig, but beyond the gifts we gave the home side we didn’t really appear to be under that much pressure. We were outfought a little bit in the challenges, a sign that the focus wasn’t right and so it proved when Arteta and Song were guilty of ball-watching for their winner, but we should have been ahead at that point, Robin van Persie’s uncharacteristically rushed attempt forcing a save from Kenny.

As I said, it doesn’t take much this season to turn confidence into collywobbles, certainly from a fan’s point of view. The early season form, coupled with the January jitters makes it easy for people to fear the worst. And I get that. I’m just hoping that this time the defeat isn’t the kind of blow that sends us reeling about the ring waiting for our legs to steady and those chirpy birds around our head to go away before we can get going again.

To continue the boxing analogy, somebody said to me yesterday that we have something of a glass chin. We can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee (or perhaps an angry moth) but we’re just as likely to end up sucker-punched when doing that. In the past Wenger’s teams have often taken time to recover from big disappointments. When the Invincibles lost their unbeaten run, they won only one of the next five league games.

Losing to QPR, however, does not feel like that kind of disappointment. It’s a pain in the arse, no doubt, but it’s not difficult to examine the result and the performance and see how we could have, and should have, done better. There are seven games to go, we need to get back on track right away and ensure that the good work of that winning run isn’t undone at the worst possible time.

Finally for today, this story about Marouane Chamakh being pictured at some kind of smoking club. Pffff. Let’s face it, the bloke could leave training each day, head for his local opium den, spend the day tripping his balls off before necking a handful of sleeping pills and shooting a massive dose of mega-heroin into his arse, and it’d be hard to notice the difference in his performance. Ideally you’d rather professional athletes took better care of themselves, but really it’s much ado about nothing and symptomatic of a quiet week.

And I do like the way this is reportedly the straw that breaks the camel’s back as opposed to the fact he’s a striker who has scored twice in 15 months.

Till tomorrow.

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